Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician, media personality, and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Donald Trump is also a candidate for President of the United States in the 2024 election.
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946, at Jamaica Hospital in the borough of Queens in New York City, the fourth child of Fred Trump, a Bronx-born real estate developer whose parents were German immigrants, and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, an immigrant from Scotland. Trump grew up with older siblings Maryanne, Fred Jr., and Elizabeth, and younger brother Robert in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens, and attended the private Kew-Forest School from kindergarten through seventh grade. At age 13, he was enrolled at the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, and in 1964, he enrolled at Fordham University. Two years later, he transferred to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in May 1968 with a B.S. in economics. In 2015, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen threatened Trump’s colleges, high school, and the College Board with legal action if they released Trump’s academic records.
In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková. They had three children: Donald Jr. (born 1977), Ivanka (born 1981), and Eric (born 1984). Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples. Trump and Maples married in 1993 and divorced in 1999. They have one daughter, Tiffany (born in 1993), who was raised by Marla in California. In 2005, Trump married Slovenian model Melania Knauss. They have one son, Barron (born in 2006). Melania gained U.S. citizenship in 2006.
Trump went to Sunday school and was confirmed in 1959 at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens. In the 1970s, his parents joined the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, which belongs to the Reformed Church in America. The pastor at Marble, Norman Vincent Peale, ministered to the family until his death in 1993. Trump has described him as a mentor. In 2015, the church stated that Trump was not an active member. In 2019, he appointed his personal pastor, televangelist Paula White, to the White House Office of Public Liaison. In 2020, he said he identified as a non-denominational Christian.
Starting in 1968, Trump was employed at his father Fred’s real estate company, Trump Management, which owned middle-class rental housing in New York City’s outer boroughs. In 1971, he became president of the company and began using The Trump Organization as an umbrella brand.
Trump attracted public attention in 1978 with the launch of his family’s first Manhattan venture, the renovation of the derelict Commodore Hotel, adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.
In 1985, Trump acquired the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. In 1995, he converted the estate into a private club with an initiation fee and annual dues. He continued to use a wing of the house as a private residence. In 2019, Trump declared Mar-a-Lago his primary residence.
Atlantic City Casinos
In 1984, Trump opened Harrah’s at Trump Plaza, a hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with financing and management help from the Holiday Corporation. It was unprofitable, and Trump paid Holiday $70 million in May 1986 to take sole control. Trump had earlier bought a hotel and casino in Atlantic City from the Hilton Corporation for $320 million. On completion in 1985, it became Trump Castle. His wife Ivana managed it until 1988.
Trump bought a third Atlantic City venue in 1988, the Trump Taj Mahal.
In 1995, Trump founded Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (THCR), which assumed ownership of Trump Plaza, Trump Castle, and the Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana. THCR purchased the Taj Mahal in 1996 and went bankrupt in 2004, 2009, and 2014, leaving Trump with 10 percent ownership. He remained chairman until 2009.
The Trump Organization began building and buying golf courses in 1999. It owns fourteen and manages another three Trump-branded courses worldwide.
Trump visited a Trump Organization property on 428 (nearly one in three) of the 1,461 days of his presidency and is estimated to have played 261 rounds of golf, one every 5.6 days.
Branding and licensing
The Trump name has been licensed for various consumer products and services, including foodstuffs, apparel, adult learning courses, and home furnishings. According to an analysis by The Washington Post, there are more than 50 licensing or management deals involving Trump’s name, which have generated at least $59 million in revenue for his companies. By 2018, only two consumer goods companies continued to license his name.
In September 1983, Trump purchased the New Jersey Generals, a team in the United States Football League. After the 1985 season, the league folded, largely due to Trump’s strategy of moving games to a fall schedule (where they competed with the NFL for the audience) and trying to force a merger with the NFL by bringing an antitrust suit against the organization.
In 2004, Trump co-founded Trump University, a company that sold real estate training courses priced from $1,500 to $35,000.After New York State authorities notified the company that its use of the word “university” violated state law (as it was not an academic institution), its name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010.
In 2013, the State of New York filed a $40 million civil suit against Trump University, alleging that the company made false statements and defrauded consumers.
Film and television
Trump made cameo appearances in many films and television shows from 1985 to 2001.
Trump had a sporadic relationship with the professional wrestling promotion WWE since the late 1980s. He appeared at WrestleMania 23 in 2007 and was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
Trump’s political party affiliation has changed numerous times. He registered as a Republican in 1987, a member of the Independence Party, the New York state affiliate of the Reform Party, in 1999, a Democrat in 2001, a Republican in 2009, unaffiliated in 2011, and a Republican in 2012.
2000 presidential campaign and 2011 hints at presidential run
In 2000, Trump ran in the California and Michigan primaries for nomination as the Reform Party candidate for the 2000 United States presidential election but withdrew from the race in February 2000. A July 1999 poll matching him against likely Republican nominee George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee Al Gore showed Trump with seven percent support.
In 2011, Trump speculated about running against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, making his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011 and giving speeches in early primary states.
2016 presidential campaign
Trump’s fame and provocative statements earned him an unprecedented amount of free media coverage, elevating his standing in the Republican primaries. He adopted the phrase “truthful hyperbole”, coined by his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, to describe his public speaking style. His campaign statements were often opaque and suggestive, and a record number of them were false. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Trump said he disdained political correctness and frequently made claims of media bias.
Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. During his first week in office, he signed six executive orders: interim procedures in anticipation of repealing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, reinstatement of the Mexico City policy, authorizing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects, reinforcing border security, and beginning the planning and design process to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner became his assistant and senior advisor, respectively.
In December 2019, COVID-19 erupted in Wuhan, China; the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread worldwide within weeks. The first confirmed case in the U.S. was reported on January 20, 2020. The outbreak was officially declared a public health emergency by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar on January 31, 2020.
Trump’s public statements on COVID-19 were at odds with his private statements. In February 2020 Trump publicly asserted that the outbreak in the U.S. was less deadly than influenza, was “very much under control”, and would soon be over. At the same time, he acknowledged the opposite in a private conversation with Bob Woodward. In March 2020, Trump privately told Woodward that he was deliberately “playing it down” in public so as not to create panic.
In August 2019, a whistleblower filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community about a July 25 phone call between Trump and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during which Trump had pressured Zelenskyy to investigate CrowdStrike and Democratic presidential candidate Biden and his son Hunter, adding that the White House had attempted to cover-up the incident. The whistleblower stated that the call was part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration and Giuliani that may have included withholding financial aid from Ukraine in July 2019 and canceling Pence’s May 2019 Ukraine trip.
2020 presidential election
Breaking with precedent, Trump filed to run for a second term with the FEC within a few hours of assuming the presidency. He held his first re-election rally less than a month after taking office and officially became the Republican nominee in August 2020.
On January 11, 2021, an article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement of insurrection against the U.S. government was introduced to the House. The House voted 232–197 to impeach Trump on January 13, making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. The impeachment, which was the most rapid in history, followed an unsuccessful bipartisan effort to strip Trump of his powers and duties via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. Ten Republicans voted for impeachment—the most members of a party ever to vote to impeach a president of their own party.
At the end of his term, Trump went to live at his Mar-a-Lago club. As provided for by the Former Presidents Act, he established an office there to handle his post-presidential activities.
Trump’s false claims concerning the 2020 election were commonly referred to as the “big lie” in the press and by his critics. In May 2021, Trump and his supporters attempted to co-opt the term, using it to refer to the election itself. The Republican Party used Trump’s false election narrative to justify the imposition of new voting restrictions in its favor. As late as July 2022, Trump was still pressuring state legislators to overturn the 2020 election by rescinding the state’s electoral votes for Biden.
Trump resumed his campaign-style rallies with an 85-minute speech at the annual North Carolina Republican Party convention on June 6, 2021.
Trump’s social media presence attracted attention worldwide since he joined Twitter in 2009. He frequently tweeted during the 2016 election campaign and as president, until his ban in the final days of his term. Over twelve years, Trump posted around 57,000 tweets, often using Twitter as a direct means of communication with the public and sidelining the press. In June 2017, a White House press secretary said that Trump’s tweets were official presidential statements. Trump often announced terminations of administration officials and cabinet members over Twitter.
After years of criticism for allowing Trump to post misinformation and falsehoods, Twitter began to tag some of his tweets with fact-checking warnings in May 2020. In response, Trump tweeted that “Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives [sic] voices” and that he would “strongly regulate, or close them down”.
Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024.
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